Students Ask to Participate in Lawsuit Against Barnes FoundationNORRISTOWN, Pa.
Three students want to argue against moving the prized Barnes Foundation art collection from suburban Philadelphia to the city now that Lincoln University has dropped its objections.
The Barnes Foundation students made the filing in Montgomery County Orphans’ Court last month, three days after the board of Lincoln University, which nominates a majority to the Barnes’ board, dropped its opposition to the move. The university made that decision after the Barnes agreed to let it have five nominations on the new 15-member board and Gov. Ed Rendell offered to help get the collection more funding (see Black Issues, Oct. 9).
Orphans Judge Stanley Ott had denied a previous petition by the students to take part in the case, but their attorney said that circumstances had changed now that Lincoln had dropped its opposition.
“No one represents the students. No one represents the art education program. And no one represents Dr. (Albert C.) Barnes’ trust,” says the lawyer, Terrance A. Kline. “We had hoped that Lincoln University would fight to protect the Barnes trust and the art education program. With Lincoln’s settlement, no one has.”
The Barnes Foundation wants to move the collection, which includes an unrivaled 310 Renoirs, Cezannes and Matisses and thousands of other paintings and objects, to Philadelphia’s museum district so it can attract more patrons and shore up its shaky finances. But such a move is forbidden by the intricate will left by Barnes in 1951; the document said he wanted the art to stay in a gallery in suburban Lower Merion Township.
Barnes’ attorney Arlin Adams said the foundation would fight the students’ new petition.
A hearing on the case is scheduled for December.
— Associated Press
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